Difference Between Shia and Ismaili (With Table)

In the Muslim community, there are many different sections. Shia and Ismaili are two of them. The number of Shias is much larger than any other section in the Muslim community. In fact, they are the largest denomination in the whole world in the Muslim community.

While shia being itself, a community has several different communities too in it. Ismaili is one of the parts of different communities that Shia has. Although, when compared to Shia, Ismaili is a minority sector. The Shias are often called or pronounced as shiits. This is because the Shias are the followers of Shia Islam.

Shia vs Ismaili

The difference between Shia and Ismaili is that shia is part of the Muslim community while Shia itself has many different parts of communities, and Ismaili is one of the parts of Shia community. Ismaili is one of the minor communities when it comes to their counting, while Shias are the ones in the majority all around the world.

Shias are the followers of Shia Islam. The word Shia has been originally derived from Shiatu Ali, which is basically a historical word in the Islamic religion. The shiatu Ali actually means someone who is a follower of Ali. There is a belief in the Shias, which is that the Ah-al-Bayt, which is a famous prophet Muhammad’s family, and some of his other descendants, aka followers who are known as the imams, are possessed with some special spiritual.

Ismaili, although being in the minority, forms the second largest sector of the Shia community. Being the part of Shia community, they cover most of the part of that. The first largest sector of the Shia community is the Twelvers. This sector got the name of Ismaili from Twelvers. This was after their spiritual leader named Ismail ibn Jafar.

Comparison Table Between Shia and Ismaili

Parameters of ComparisonShiaIsmaili
What are they?Shia is a part of the Muslim religion as a community.Ismaili is a sect of the Shia community.
DenominationIn the Muslim religion, shia is the second-largest denomination in the whole world.As a sect of a community, Ismaili comes under the minority section and in no denomination.
ConsiderationThe Shia community considered their prophet’s son-in-law as their very first imam, which is also known as the descendant.The Ismaili sect considered Ismail al Jaban as their leader and successor.  
ProphetThe prophet of the Shia community was the Ah-al-Bayt.Ismail-al-kaban was the prophet and successor of the Ismaili sect.
CommunityShia itself is a community in the Muslim religion.Ismaili is a sect and a part of another community.

What is Shia?

Shias are the part of Muslim community. Muslims have many different communities, and shia is one of them. Shia has many different communities in itself too. The Shias believe that their prophets Muhammad Ali’s family and their descendants are possessed with some special spirituality plus some political authority over their community. Their descendants are known as imams.

The sect of Shia considers their prophet Muhammad’s cousin and his son-in-law, who is also his very first imam, named Ali. Shias believe Ali to be the most rightful successor of their prophet Muhammad. The first three caliphs are also rejected by the Shias to be their authority. The sect Shia emerged before the lifetime of their prophet Muhammad. This is another that is to be noted when talking about Shias.

What is Ismaili?

As said before, shia is one of the parts of the Muslim community, and shia itself has many different sects. Well, Ismaili is one of the sects of Shia. Not just that, Ismaili is the second largest sect in the Shia community, though Ismailis are the ones in the minority if talking overall. The first largest sector of the Shia community is the Twelvers. Ismail al Japan, their leader, was the one from which they got their name of Ismaili.

In fact, they consider Ismail al jaban as their divine spiritual leader and their successor. Imams are the descendants to which the Ismailis follow. They are also often considered as the nizari community. One can even come across more than one Ismaili subgroup. The community of nizari is formed with the followers of Aga Khan. The Aga khan follower’s group is the largest in the whole Ismaili community.

Main Differences Between Shia and Ismaili

  1. The main difference between Shia and Ismaili is their existence. Actually, the Muslim religion has many different communities in it, and Shia is a part of the Muslim religion as a community, while Ismaili is a sect of that Shia community.
  2. Talking of the denomination of the two, in the Muslim religion, shia is the second-largest denomination in the whole world, while as a sect of a community, Ismaili comes under the minority section and in no denomination.
  3. The consideration of imams in both the community and the sect is different. The Shia community considered their prophet’s son in law as their very first imam, which is also known as the descendant, while the Ismaili sect considered Ismail al Japan as their leader and successor. 
  4. The prophets of both the sect and the community are different. The prophet of the Shia community was the Ah-al-Bayt. Ismail-al-Kaban was the prophet and successor of the Ismaili sect.
  5. Well, the bottom line is, Shia itself is a community that is a Muslim religion while Ismaili is a sect and a part of another community.

Conclusion

It concludes now that the Muslim religion has more than one community and those communities themselves have more than one several sects in them. One of those communities is Shia, and one of those sects of these communities is Ismaili. They both have their different origins and histories of where did they come from. Plus, the history behind their title that where and how did they get it from.

References

  1. https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01862610/
  2. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781315027746/ismaili-hymns-south-asia-zawahir-moir-christopher-shackle
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